PLEASE NOTE: We are no longer taking Family Law cases. Pages on this website pertaining to Family Law issues will remain for informational purposes only.

There are two types of child custody -- physical and legal.  The parent who primarily lives with the child has physical custody, while the parent who has the authority to make significant life decisions for the child (i.e., health, education and welfare) has legal custody.  Both types of custody may be shared.  In a custody proceeding, a judge can either grant full or shared custody to either parents or a third party (like a grandparent), but there is no presumption or inference of law in favor of one parent over the other (for example, mothers do not have an advantage over fathers).  In all cases, the judge will make a final determination based on the best interests of the child.

The parent who does not have primary physical custody may be granted visitation rights.

The parents may determine their own arrangements for custody, or a court may do it for them.  Courts encourage parents to make their own custody and visitation decisions.

For Virginia statutory authoity and factors to be considered for child support and visitation orders, see Va. Code § 20-124.2 and Va. Code § 20-124.3.  For the District of Columbia, see DC Code 16-911.

If you need help in your child support case, call us for a consultation at (571) 393-1236, or send us an e-mail.


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